VISTA, California, October 18, 2005 ( – A California lesbian is suing the doctors who refused to artificially inseminate her, charging that she was discriminated against because of the doctor’s religious beliefs.

Guadalupe “Lupita” Benitez, 33, is suing Doctors Christine Brody and Douglas Fenton and their North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group in Southern California for the alleged violation of her civil rights, after they refused her the procedure in 2000. The doctors said they were not comfortable with assisting her to become a parent because she was not married.

Benitez said she finally conceived with the collusion of another fertility treatment center. She and her partner, Joanne Clark, now raise one boy and twin girls, both sets of children conceived with the same sperm donor.
“These physicians, or anyone else who is operating a business, are free to worship as they will and believe as they will, but not to put those beliefs into action in a way that harms other people in the public sphere,” Benitez claimed, according to a National Post report.

Attorneys for both parties presented their cases before a panel of three judges at California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal this week. Attorney for the doctors, Carlo Coppo, argued that religious belief is relevant in deciding whether the treatment from the doctors was warranted in the case. The doctors should be allowed to explain “what went through their hearts and minds when they did what they did,” he said.

One judge, Justice Gilbert Nares, predicted the case – the first where a doctor has refused treatment allegedly because of the sexual orientation of a patient – is likely to eventually reach the Supreme Court.